Tuesday, December 15, 2009


The past couple of weeks I have been thinking a lot about balance in my life. I only have 2 kids, yet my to-do and my want-to-do lists seem to be poured out by bucket loads. I think I am a perfectionist. I take that back, I KNOW that I am a perfectionist- to a fault. My house has to be spotless, I have to work out, I have to make meals, I have to have clean kids, I have to have time to play with my kids, I have to have time to be with Josh so we can feel close, I have to have time to myself, etc...etc.... I have yet to figure out the balance issue because I simply don't want to give on anything.
I have found that for me, the things that should be the definites in my daily routine- such as sincere prayers and scriptures study are most often the ones that I "give" on. I do them....I just do them while completely distracted with another thing or I pray distracted for 1 minute rattling off the same old things, and I read for 5-10 minutes while thinking about the next thing I have to check off on my to-do list.
I read this book called, "A Mother's Book of Secrets" this past summer, and pulled it out again this week and read something that hit me like a ton of bricks because it is exactly what I am going through. Shawni (one of the authors) was quoting Chieko N. Okazaki from an address she gave called "Lighten Up!" She said:
"Suppose the Savior comes to visit you. You've rushed around and vacuumed the guest room, put the best sheets on the bed, even got some tulips in a vase on the dresser. Jesus looks around the room, then says, 'Oh, thank you for inviting me into your home. Please tell me about your life.'
"You say, 'I will in just a minute, but something's boiling over on the stove, and I need to let the cat out.'
"Jesus says, 'I know a lot about cats and stoves. I'll come with you.'
"Oh, no, you say, 'I couldn't let you do that.' And you rush out, carefully closing the door behind you.
"And while you are turning down the stove, the phone rings, and then Jason comes in with a scape on his elbow, and the visiting teaching supervisor calls for your report, and then it's suppertime, and you couldn't possibly have Jesus see that you don't even have placemats, for Pete's sake, and someone forgot to turn on the dishwasher so that you're eating off paper plates, and then you have to drive Lynne to her basketball game. So by the time you get back to the room where Jesus is still patiently waiting for you, you're so tired that you can barely keep your eyes open--let alone sit worshipfully at Jesus feet to wait for those words of profound wisdom and spiritual power to wash over you, to make you different, to make everything else different--and you fall asleep while whispering, 'I'm sorry. I'll try to do better. I'm so sorry" (in Women and Christ: Living the Abundant Life, 6).

This describes my dilemma perfectly. I rush around all day saying "after "X" I'll say a good prayer and read my scriptures" and right after I've done "X" Shaffer has a poopy diaper, and then Logan needs to be fed, and then it's my chance to work out and then shower. Then as soon as I'm done showering Logan is up from a nap and Shaffer has to be fed because he is screaming his head off, and before I know it my whole day is up and the only prayers I've offered are in 30 second increments when I'm pleading for sanity and I keep saying, "Heavenly Father, 5 more minutes and then I'll pray". And He sits there waiting patiently for me, willing to help and all I need to do is get on my knees and ask for it.

And so....if there are any imperfect people out there, like me, who need a little challenge to make saying sincere prayers & studying the scriptures a priority...even if it's the only thing we get done that day...then here it is. This is my goal & my challenge. You're welcome to join me. I know I need it! I know I need Him!


jamie t. said...

Thank you for the challenge. I am in! I have had to learn the last month or so that some things just have to go. The world is not going to end if the girls room is not spotless. I can't feel guilty that I can't do everything all the time. Right now I need to take care of myself and things that are vital and everything else is going to have to wait. Think of the chaos 3 will bring me! Ahhhhhh :)

mamasylvia said...

Such is the life of "mother";-) Still, I thoroughly believe that - having given us the charge of being mothers - the Lord completely understands what we are going through and always gives us the extra help that we need whenever we ask for it. It sometimes seemed to me (when my children were small) that I was praying all day, every day. Obviously not kneeling in a quiet, secluded place - but very sincerely and intently in my heart as I was rushing to get done what everyone needed. And I KNOW the Lord hears and heeds those kinds of prayers also! Sorry to tell you that it will probably get crazier before it gets better, but the time will come (much sooner than you think possible) when the house will be clean and quiet and you'll have more than enough time on your hands. Don't wish this time away too fast. Love you all and can't wait to see you!!!!!

Darcy Taylor said...

I need to join you in this challenge. Scripture study and prayer... I definitely have been failing in these areas, and I can feel it.

The Bell Family said...

Jena, I love your posts you always seem write just what I am thinking. I'm so in, I've been needing to do this for awhile. Thanks for sharing how you feel. You are AWESOME!

Carroll Conversations said...

I so needed this post right now! Thanks for the "konk" on the head. You did hit the heart of the problem right now. I can soooo relate. I'm in for the challenge. I can and "need" to do this. =)

Hoppers said...

As the former mom of 4 kids 5 years old and under....I remember your pain! Just remember, that Heavenly Father knows your heart. He knows your intentions and that you are sincere. Sometimes, when all you can do is say a quick prayer in the bathroom because that door has a lock on it, know that it's a profound thing that you know where to go to ask for assistance (not the bathroom, but to Heavenly Father!). The mere fact that you have that testimony speaks volumes! Then, get on with the day and rejoice in appreciating all those moms out there, including your own mom who have made these sacrifices for you and they rejoice in the fact that you learned all that they prayed you would! You're doing great! It's fun to watch from the outside and know how lucky your family is to have you!

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joben said...

Although Jesus is not my savior, and the scriptures that give me faith and hope can't be found in the bible, I too still notice the power of prayer.

I like praying. It makes me happy.

Thanks for this comment : )

Dax and Jen said...

That is great Jena. I definitely am struggling with that right now, and I only have 1 child! Call me...our phone died and the smart chip lost most of my phone numbers(including yours) so I can't call you. We still want to get together!

Andrea said...

I really needed to hear that! Thank you! You are such an amazing person and an example to me as well as many others! The boys are precious - love the pictures!